Importance of Mangroves
- Mangroves protect shorelines from erosion
- Mangroves serve as valuable nursery areas for fish and invertebrates
Serving as valuable nursery areas for shrimp, crustaceans, mollusks, and fishes, mangroves are a critical component of Florida's commercial and recreational fishing industries. These habitats provide a rich source of food while also offering refuge from predation. Snook (Centropomus undecimalis), gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus), tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), jack (Caranx spp.), sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) all feed in the mangroves. Florida's fisheries would suffer a dramatic decline without access to healthy mangrove habitats.
Threatened and Endangered Species
- Mangroves Support Threatened and Endangered Species
In addition to commercially important species, mangroves also support a number of threatened and endangered species.
Threatened species include:
Endangered species include:
- Atlantic ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
- Barbados yellow warbler (Dendroica petechia petechia)
- key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium)
These species utilize mangrove systems during at least some portion of their life histories, while others reside their entire life spans, feeding and nesting within the mangroves.
Mangroves are utilized in many parts of the world as a renewable resource
In other parts of the world, people have utilized mangrove trees as a renewable resource. Harvested for durable, water-resistant wood, mangroves have been used in building houses, boats, pilings, and furniture. The wood of the black mangrove and buttonwood trees has also been utilized in the production of charcoal. Tannins and other dyes are extracted from mangrove bark. Leaves have been used in tea, medicine, livestock feed, and as a substitute for tobacco for smoking. In Florida, beekeepers have set up their hives close to mangroves in order to use the nectar in honey production.
Glossary terms on page:
- erosion: the wearing away of soil, rock, and sediments, etc. by the action of wind, rain, and other weather-related elements.
- endangered species: a species in danger of becoming extinct that is protected by the Endangered Species Act.
- threatened species: plants or animals likely to become endangered in the near future.